Patched Tomatoes artwork

Patched Tomatoes

Patched Tomatoes is a Chrome extension that replaces the Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes with the Critics' Average Rating. It does the same for the Audience Score. I believe the Tomatometer score is calculated in a misleading way, and this extension aims to fix that.

How Rotten Tomatoes Works

Let's create some films for the sake of example. Each film received 5 critic reviews. Here they are:

Blue Harvest1/101/51.5/102/101/10
Prime Directive9/105/59.5/109/109/10

Upon reviewing these ratings - one might assume that Prime Directive is amazing, Blue Harvest is bad, and the remaining two films are similarly mediocre. What would Rotten Tomatoes say? Here's their definition of a “Fresh” film:

The Tomatometer score represents the percentage of professional critic reviews that are positive for a given film or television show... When at least 60% of reviews for a movie or TV show are positive, a red tomato is displayed to indicate its Fresh status.

What does this mean for our example films? First, we need to convert each critic rating to a binary “positive” or “not positive” review. In most cases, Rotten Tomatoes considers 5.5/10 and above a “positive” review.

Blue Harvest-----
Prime Directive+++++

Per Rotten Tomatoes definition, both Frostbite and Blue Harvest would receive a rotten Tomatometer score of 0%, while Prime Directive and Artemis both receive a fresh score of 100%. Do you feel misled?

A Better Way

This is where Patched Tomatoes comes in. I find that simply looking at a film's average rating is much more interesting. Let's convert the critic ratings to percentages and calculate their average:

Blue Harvest10%20%15%20%10%
Prime Directive90%100%95%90%90%

These average out to the following:

  • Frostbite: 48%
  • Blue Harvest: 15%
  • Prime Directive: 93%
  • Artemis: 58%

Perhaps Artemis isn't the critically-acclaimed film Rotten Tomatoes indicated.

One side effect of this is that it's a lot harder for a film to get a 100% rating. In fact, the only way for this to happen would be if every single critic agreed that it was a perfect film - and this has never happened. The current highest-ranking films are Citizen Kane and The Wizard of Oz at ~94%.

I posit that it's all the more impressive for a modern film to reach this level of consensus given the sheer number of critics rating films online today. Which number tells you more, that Parasite (with 356 total reviews) received a Tomatometer rating of 99%, or that Parasite's average rating is 93.7%?

If you would like to install Patched Tomatoes for yourself, head to mknepprath/patched-tomatoes on GitHub and follow the instructions.